A Quick Guide to Pinot Noir for Beginners
Known as one of the most popular red wines, Pinot Noir is cherished for its light bodied format. With red fruit and florals plus spiced aromas, it provides a lovely and lasting smooth finish.
The Pinot Noir Varietal
Pinot Noir is a varietal of black grape from France. In fact, it’s said to be the oldest of France’s grapes which was cultivated over a century ago in Burgundy by the Cistercian monks. It is difficult to grow which is why it’s such a cherished wine, and with its intensive popularity, it is one of the most expensive types of wine.
Where Pinot Noir Grows
Burgundy, France is certainly the most popular region for Pinot Noir grapes to grow. Because these wines are so famous and pricey, it has prompted winemakers around the world to attempt to copy this success. As such, you can find Pinot Noir vines growing in other parts of the world.
Pinot Noir bodes best in cooler climates that offer longer growing seasons. Often, they can be found growing in valleys or close to large bodies of water. While France is deemed the best at creating Pinot Noir, you can still find delicious wines with this varietal thriving to international acclaim in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, and in the US in the states of California, Oregon, and even New York.
The Taste of Pinot Noir
In most cases, you can expect Pinot Noir to be dry with a light to medium body. It features silky tannins, bright acidity, and an ample alcohol content between 12% and 15%. Flavors tend to encompass cherry, raspberry, mushroom, and hibiscus. For Pinot Noir aged in French oak, you will get a hint of vanilla and baking spices.
However, these flavors will vary based on the region they are produced. The cooler climates will produce that lovely and delicate flavor that is so beloved while the warmer climates will give you a riper and more full-bodied experience with a higher alcohol content.
Food Pairing and Serving for Pinot Noir
If you enjoy sipping wine with your meal, Pinot Noir is a wine you should try. It’s incredibly versatile with food pairing thanks to the higher acidity and lower tannin content. It is most enjoyable with chicken, pork, or duck as far as meats are concerned. For a meatless meal, Pinot Noir shines impeccably with mushrooms which are known for their earthy flavors and meaty textures.
The best temperature to serve Pinot Noir is between 55–60°F. You should aim to let it decant for 30 minutes so it can open up to the exceptional flavors before you serve it. When aging, Pinot Noir is best kept in the cellar for 10 or more years, though there are many bottles you can pop open today to enjoy a taste of one of the world’s most highly sought after wines.
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